After two months of competition in the fall and a winter hiatus, the Yale women’s golf team has resumed play for the spring season as it prepares for the Ivy League Championship in late April.

The Bulldogs will lean on a balanced roster of eight competitors in their attempt to win the season’s conference title, which Princeton claimed last year. After a first-place finish at the Bucknell Invitational in September, the team had a mixed fall season, including a seventh-place finish at the Yale Women’s Intercollegiate. Led by captain Jennifer Peng ’18, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Year, the Elis will look to improve upon their last place finish at Ivies last spring.

“Right now we’re focusing a lot more on working on our short game, which is a big area we can improve on with scoring,” Julie Luo ’19 said. “We’re really working on targeting areas we can improve on in a short time period because we only have a short season, and we’re definitely going to be shooting some low scores.”

The Bulldogs kicked off their spring season at the Otter Invitational in Pebble Beach, California, last week, hosted by CSU Monterey at the Poppy Hills Golf Course. The Elis finished seventh in a field of 20 teams, finishing two strokes ahead of rival Dartmouth, the only other Ivy in attendance. Due to inclement weather, the tournament was shortened to a single round. Jennifer Peng led the Bulldogs by placing eighth in the tournament with a 3-over score of 74, signaling another strong start for the veteran. Among Peng’s career accolades are Ivy League Rookie of the Year, First-Team All-Ivy and Ivy League Player of the Year.

“It’s a little bittersweet since it’s my last season, but I think the team is in a good place, and I am excited to see what the season holds for us,” Peng said. “I think our team goal is to focus on ourselves and perform better each tournament leading up to Ivies.”

Peng was nominated as captain for the 2017–18 season, an honor which she hopes to use in order to encourage her teammates to maximize their individual potentials.

Though the second round of the Otter Invitational was ultimately cancelled, many Bulldogs played superbly before being called off the course. Peng scored five birdies while teammates Julie Luo and Beryl Wang ’20 also gave solid performances, each shooting two birdies during the round.

first-years Gabrielle DeSombre ’21 and Lucy Liu ’21 will be competing in their first Ivy League Championship this season. DeSombre had Yale’s second lowest score at the Otter Invitational, finishing with a 77 (+6). Both players are optimistic heading into the spring season and look forward to a higher level of competition.

“I’m looking forward to playing some excellent courses, getting to know fellow competitors, and performing my best this spring season,” Liu said.

In addition to the fresh faces, Yale sports a strong cast of upper levels including Peng, Jayshree Sarathy ’18, Luo and Sabrina Long ’19.

The Ivy League Championship will be a three-day event, beginning on April 20th, in which Yale hopes to improve upon its last-place finish in the 2016–17 season. Last year, Yale drastically improved each day of the event, finishing with a respectable score of 303 marked by Peng’s one-over-par scorecard. The Bulldogs will use the spring season to prepare for the Ivy finale, which they hope will serve as redemption for last season.

The Elis will next compete at The Oaks Club in Sarasota, Florida, on April 1.

Alex Reedy |